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Off the Beaten Path

BY AMY ALLEN

Hintonburg's Railbender Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery displays works by local artists. (Photo: Kristina Corre)

In Hintonburg, Railbender Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery displays works by local artists. (Photo: Kristina Corre)

That transition period between winter and spring is a great time to step outside your comfort zone and try something new — and Ottawa, a veritable treasure trove of unique and unusual entertainment, is the perfect place to do it.

ESCAPE MANOR

Picture this: you’re locked in a prison cell with a group of friends, and the only way out is to solve a series of complicated and arcane puzzles — all within a time limit of 45 minutes. It may not seem at first like an obvious plan for a Friday evening, but it’s a great way to challenge your intellect, strengthen your teamwork skills, and create memories with friends. Escape Manor currently offers several theme rooms, each with its own unique challenges. 201 Queen St., escapemanor.com

THE LOFT BOARD GAME LOUNGE

Cafes are typically places to relax and socialize, but The Loft takes it to a whole new level by throwing more than 800 board games into the mix. More hardcore gamers may wish to spend hours sweating over a game of Risk or Settlers of Catan, but it’s also a great place to enjoy a latte and a quick round of Hungry Hungry Hippos. The menu, which includes flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, and cocktails, has everything you need to fuel yourself up for round two. 14 Waller St., 613-695-7529, theloftlounge.ca

HOUSE OF TARG

Pinball, perogies, and live music — sounds like the perfect recipe for a great night out, right? House of Targ effortlessly combines the three, with over a dozen pinball machines, an assortment of classic arcade games, and a delicious selection of hand folded perogies (including a dessert option stuffed with apples and dusted with cinnamon and brown sugar). On weekends, they serve brunch complete with traditional Ukrainian foods such as kielbasa sausage. 1077 Bank St., 613-680-8274, houseoftarg.com

Head to House of Targ for scrumptious perogies and old-school pinball action.

Head to House of Targ for scrumptious perogies and old-school pinball action.

RAILBENDER TATTOO STUDIO AND ART GALLERY

This parlour in Hintonburg is more than just a haven for tattoo junkies to get inked up. It also acts as an art gallery, which features exhibitions by local artists and the occasional international artist with local roots. Previous exhibitions have included works by Ottawa punk photographer Darryl Reid, painter Mat Dubé, and contemporary artist Marc Adornato. 3 Hamilton Ave. N., 613-725-6061, railbenderstudio.com

CENTRAL ART GARAGE

It’s no secret that Ottawa has its fair share of public art galleries, but art connoisseurs may be interested in some of the city’s lesser-known independent spaces. Central Art Garage, housed inside a converted auto repair shop in Chinatown, acts as a studio for owner Danny Hussey, and displays contemporary works by local and Canadian artists. 66B Lebreton St., 613-695-8859, centralartgarage.com

Located in a converted auto repair shop, Central Art Garage features modern, boundary-pushing art. (Photo: Simon Stiles)

Located in a converted auto repair shop, Central Art Garage features modern, boundary-pushing art. (Photo: Simon Stiles)

STITTSVILLE BARBIE MUSEUM

Located in the Stittsville Flea Market, this museum is obscure even by local standards. The owner, Elizabeth Kondruss, has been collecting the dolls since the late 1960s. There are over 20,000 dolls and accessories in her collection, which includes some extremely rare pieces, such as clothing created by fashion designer Bob Mackie. Getting here will require careful planning — it’s only open on Sundays from 9am to 5pm. Stittsville Flea Market, 2079 Carp Rd., 613-863-3103, carprdfleamarket.net

 

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